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Few adults get vaccinated

January 28, 2008|From Times wire reports

Vaccines aren't just for kids, but far too few grown-ups are rolling up their sleeves, disappointed federal health officials reported Wednesday.

The numbers of the newly vaccinated are surprisingly low, considering how much public attention a trio of new shots -- which protect against shingles, whooping cough and cervical cancer -- have received.

Yet many people seem to have missed, or forgotten, the news: A survey by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases found that aside from the flu, most adults have trouble naming diseases that they could prevent with a simple inoculation.

"We really need to get beyond the mentality that vaccines are for kids. Vaccines are for everybody," said Dr. Anne Schuchat of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who called the new data sobering.

The new report found:

* Only about 2% of Americans age 60 and older received a vaccine against shingles in its first year of sales.

* About 2% of adults ages 18 to 64 got a booster shot against whooping cough in the two years since it hit the market.

* About 10% of women ages 18 to 26 have received at least one dose of a three-shot series that protects against the human papillomavirus, or HPV, that causes cervical cancer.

Price may play a role in these low vaccination rates. The shingles shot costs around $150, and the three-shot HPV vaccine about $300, and insurance coverage varies. There's no national program to guarantee access for adults who can't afford vaccines.

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